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Interview: Brenton Thwaites

Aussie rising star Brenton Thwaites joins the crew of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Queensland-born Brenton Thwaites has an ongoing gag about his thwarted Hollywood dream. “I’ve been doing this for seven years and every time I move to Hollywood, I get a movie back in Australia,” grins the Cairns native who turns up as Orlando Bloom’s son in the fifth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales.

“The last time I moved to Los Angeles was just before Pirates was about to shoot, and I found out the studio was 20 minutes from my house, so I moved back home again for six months,” he says, referring to Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, Queensland; although, Pirates also shot in locations in Moreton Bay, Helensvale, Maudsland, Southport, Tamborine Mountain, and the Whitsunday Islands.

“One of these days I will move to Hollywood. Right now, it’s a work in progress,” laughs Thwaites, 27, whose other recent films Gods of Egypt, Son of a Gun, and Ruben Guthrie all necessitated a move back home.

Today, Thwaites’s Henry Turner is introduced to the Pirates franchise alongside fellow newcomer Javier Bardem, opposite Pirate veterans Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush.

Turner is a former officer with the Royal Navy, although his insistence on seeking out a mythological treasure – which can bring the dead back to life – lands him in jail.

“I hope the movie will help connect young men with their fathers, but talking about my own father and our relationship is a little touchy, certainly more touchy than I would care to share,” says the former Home and Away star, who has a 14-month-old daughter with girlfriend Chloe Pacey.

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Many of Thwaites’ fans have remarked on his resemblance to a young Brad Pitt, and the Aussie doesn’t deny the similarity.

“It’s funny that people should say that. I was looking forward to playing Brad Pitt’s son in a movie which recently fell apart,” he told STACK at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where he was honoured with Breakthrough Performer of the Year, before catching a flight back to Europe where he’s filming World War II thriller Ghosts of War.

“To be honest, I’m not ready for fame. I don’t think anyone is ready for it. I think it's just one of those things that, if I’m lucky enough, it could be a part of my life and hopefully I will tell great stories which will inspire the world,” says the actor, whose other films include Maleficent, Oculus and The Giver.

“Personal life aside, the safety and security of my family – that’s a different story, and it gets scary when you think about that stuff. My goal is to continue to work and have a great team around me. My dream is to play Hamlet on stage.”

Growing up, Thwaites says it was his movie-loving mother Fiona who really helped develop his passion for film. “As a teenager, we watched hundreds of films together. I was inspired by Good Will Hunting, Dante’s Peak, Romeo + Juliet and Titanic. Heath Ledger was my idol.

“Cairns is a diving and tourist town, between the mountains, the tropics, and the reef, so I was exposed to people from all over the world from different cultures, which intrigued me and gave me a desire to travel from a very young age, long before I thought to pursue acting. When I was 16 I was messing around with plays, and I joined the theatre company, and then went to acting school. It made sense that I would travel for the rest of my life.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is in cinemas on May 25.

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